Audit Says Maryland Overbilled Federal Government $28.4M in Health Exchange Launch

A long-awaited audit of Maryland’s health insurance exchange has found that the state improperly billed the federal government $28.4 million as former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration struggled to launch what would become one of the most troubled websites in the nation. Though the year-long probe by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general found no fraud or criminal wrongdoing, auditors said the state lacked oversight and internal controls — and they recommended that Maryland refund what the federal government paid to subsidize the cost of signing people up for coverage. The report is the latest fallout from the disastrous launch in 2013 of Maryland’s health insurance marketplace, a central component of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The Maryland website crashed on its first day and was plagued by feuding contractors and software glitches. By refocusing attention on a dark period of his tenure, the report also could have political implications for O’Malley as he crisscrosses the country in anticipation of a possible run for president next year. The Democrat has pitched himself as a modern, tech-savvy manager. “How do you misallocate that large amount of money?” asked Rep. Andy Harris, a Baltimore County Republican and critic of the health care law who first requested the audit last year. “Neither answer is good: It was either incompetence or it was intended.” Exchange officials deny that any money was “misallocated” as the audit title suggests. They said they believed they were following federal guidelines and dispute most of the audit’s findings.

Source/more: Baltimore Sun

David Wingate is an elder law attorney practicing in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland. The elder law practice consists of Wills, Powers of Attorneys, Trusts, asset protection and Medicaid (Medical Assistance.)

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